Party on Taye... (House on Haunted Hill, 1999)
Ah yes, another remake. There’s no shortage of them in the horror genre and some are definitely more worthwhile than others. It was only a matter of time before at least one of the legendary Vincent Price’s flicks got a re-do. And what better flick to do so than a house setting that can take advantage of updated visuals and atmosphere? House on Haunted Hill tells the story of a group of individuals who are invited to a party and promised a reward of $1 million each if they survive, I mean stay, the entire night. They don’t know why they are invited as they don’t know the host but their connections are revealed along the way. I’ll say that this remake is effective and does things almost perfect. We are treated to a great setting, an entertaining cast, and effective scares. Who can forget when Sonya Blade is videotaping in the basement and comes across the ‘operation room’ only her camera can see? Or the spinning creepy room that the host, Price (aptly named) is subjected to? For a good chunk of the movie, it doesn’t rely on overblown effects and tries for more effective subtle scares. And then…the CGI-fest ending just has to go in the opposite direction. I get what they were trying to do…but the tone just shifts too much in the cheesy direction dramatically from all the greatness we had seen before. All is not lost though; when the flick ends, we will have survived the night and been treated to some smart comedy moments, true terror moments, and met new friends along the way. Cheers to the wacky and always great Geoffrey Rush as the lead. Check it out with some appropriate party foods.
SLASH SCENE: Marilyn Manson’s ‘Sweet Dreams’ cover playing as the guests all arrive to the party.
SLASH SCORE: 4/5